Duke Freshman and former Audi player Paulo Banchero is reaping the benefits of waiting for marketable NBA possibilities.
New Orleans (AP) – NBA potential Dyson Daniels will be tuned in to the final four this weekend, earning recognition money as college players watch the national championship chase.
However, the Australian teenager does not feel he is missing out.
“I love watching college basketball and the NCAA tournament, and it’s great,” said Daniels, a 6-foot-7 point guard who joined the G League Ignite development program for elite NBA potential. “It’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world, but for me, my goal was to reach the NBA.”
The 19-year-old Daniels is one of a growing number of players who choose to outdo college basketball to pursue what they see as a more training-focused and financially viable alternative.
That means they were saying “no thank you” for being part of March Madness – the opportunity to profit from a player’s name, image and likeness (NIL) has not come until recently.
Options for high potential have changed dramatically in a relatively short period of time. They can go abroad and play in the second year NBA-affiliated Ignite program or the first year Overtime Elite Developmental program.
The evolving world of busy financial opportunities created when the NCAA allowed them to take advantage of their reputation while in school last summer gives them something else to consider.
“I think we all have enough space,” said Aaron Ryan, commissioner and president of Overtime Elite.
Ryan may be right. It seems to work for those who have dropped out of school and for the three college players who are considered the best draft prospects in the NBA.
Duke Freshman Paulo Banchero, who faces long-time rival North Carolina rivals the Blue Devils in Saturday’s national semifinals, is reaping the benefits of waiting for marketable NBA opportunities.
The 6-10 forward from Seattle said he was approached about playing in the G League or abroad. He decided to make his dream of playing college basketball come true, and it grew sweeter when he ever got recognition opportunities before playing a game.
“It’s more money than I’ve ever seen growing up,” said Banchero, who represents the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for marketing deals.
Related: Prezone: Odyssey basketball player Paulo Banchero gains national attention
Banjero became the first college player to feature the latest NBA 2K video game, a basketball trading card from Panini as part of a multi-year deal, and an ad for British sportswear-fashion retailer JD Sports.
Blue Devil and Chet Homegren in Gonzaga have the potential to become “brand ambassadors” for Yahoo Sports’ NCAA tournament selection competition.
Related: Former Sag’s father, Chet Hongren, impresses with his progress
There are also deals like homegrown tops trading cards, while Auburn’s Jabari Smith – another great newcomer – has his own t-shirt collection with 2 coma dresses.
“College will definitely be more and more attractive now that you can make money and go to college,” Banchero said. “So I think this is a good thing.”
Options will change slightly for players who do not play in the wide-exposure spotlight of college basketball that comes with each NCAA tournament. Again, the disappearance of the March Madness did not hurt Houston Rocket’s rookie Jalen Green, the Houston Rocket’s overall 2 draft pick, or any of the three Ignite players who were drafted last summer.
“I do not regret it,” Green said. “But I’m sure it’s going to be fun. It’s something that all college players have been waiting for, and it’s burning on the stage.”
This year’s harvest is the first of its kind for players who bypass college knowing that they can make some profit from school recognition. However, a year ago, no one knew how all this was going to happen and it was still not clear where it was going.
Dominic Barlow, a 6-9 forward from New Jersey, chose to play with the Overtime Elite, and said he was more focused on developing his game than a NIL portfolio.
“You have all the resources to become a pro here,” said Barlow, ESPN’s 58th-ranked draft prospect. “So I think it’s not a personal thing. I know some people have attachments to college basketball. Let it be so. But if you really like basketball, you should come here.”
For Daniels, he estimates he would not have earned NIL money if he had played at Arkansas, Colorado, Houston or other schools he recruited because student visas prohibit work outside of campus. And he knows there is no guarantee of reaching the NCAA tournament. Former LSU standout and current Brooklyn Nets Guard failed to get there during his one-year stint with fellow Australian Ben Simmons Tigers.
But Daniels sees how NIL opportunities will change the way college basketball is viewed in their NBA efforts.
“I think it’s great to be able to make money today (in the game),” he said. “Some kids see money as a great opportunity to give to themselves and their family and things like that.”
Ranked ESPN’s No. 10 Draft Prospect, Daniels said he added 20 20 in bulk after joining Ignite to deal with old pros playing in NBA rules and systems. That growth, as he loves to watch college basketball, made him feel good about missing the last four tips on Saturday night.
“It was great to play in this, but I have no regrets,” he said. “Of course not.”